UK Parliamentary report urges copyright licensing framework for AI

May 30, 2024

On 28 May, the UK Parliament’s House of Commons Science, Innovation and Technology Committee released a report entitled ‘Governance of Artificial Intelligence (AI)’.

The report addresses 12 challenges, one of which is ‘The Intellectual Property and Copyright Challenge’. Its recommendation is:

The Government should broker a fair, sustainable solution based around a licensing framework governing the use of copyrighted material to train AI models.

The report also says:

    1. The growing volume of litigation relating to alleged use of works protected by copyright to train AI models and tools, and the value of high-quality data needed to train future models, has underlined the need for a sustainable framework that acknowledges the inevitable trade-offs and establishes clear, enforceable rules of the road. The status quo allows developers to potentially benefit from the unlimited, free use of copyrighted material, whilst negotiations are stalled.
    2. The current Government, or its successor administration, should ensure that discussions regarding the use of copyrighted works to train and run AI models are concluded and an implementable approach agreed. It seems inevitable that this will involve the agreement of a financial settlement for past infringements by AI developers, the negotiation of a licensing framework to govern future uses, and in all likelihood the establishment of a new authority to operationalise the agreement. If this cannot be achieved through a voluntary approach, it should be enforced by the Government, or its successor administration, in co-operation with its international partners.

The UK Government has two months to respond to the report.

Reports from other UK Parliamentary Committees on AI:

  • House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee: ‘Large language models and generative AI’ (February 2024) here (UK Government response here)
  • House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee: ‘Connected tech: AI and creative technology’ (July 2023) here (UK Government response here and here).